Learning to {rappel}

Last month I pushed myself to the edge of my comfort zone. Literally.

My husband Ghassan and I spent a few weeks of September in Australia, during which we took a few days to retreat with our friends to the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Originally intended to be a semi-hiking trip with a lot of relaxation thrown in, we somehow all fired each other up to the idea of rappelling (or abseiling as they call it in Oz) off the side of the majestic mountains. After much debate and nail biting, we decided to call an adventure company last minute and see if it could be arranged.

Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) we found a well reputed company to take us out. Our half day excursion would include 5 meter rappelling, 10 meter rappelling, and finally the monstrous 30 meter rappelling.

coupleStarting off on the 5m drop was difficult, even though it sounds like quite a short distance. With rappelling, the key is to trust the equipment and the people spotting you to ensure you don’t fall. You have to use that trust to sit backwards into nothingness and walk your way down a mountainside with your bum in the air. Yes, it is as daunting as it sounds.

Maya Itani, Abseiling, Rappelling

Listening carefully to the safety instructions from our guide Evan

This was taken when I thought mastering the 5m was an achievement....

This was taken when I thought mastering the 5m was an achievement….

After a few trials on the 5m, we moved to the 15m which was harder of course but much more exhilarating. This cliff side was open and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Unlike the 5m, the location of this drop meant that the wind could play with you as it pleased, and you had to still muster your courage to lean backwards and climb down. Stepping over the ledge is the hardest part, but once you’ve done that it’s a whole lot of fun. Once we moved on to the 30m, I’d plucked up the courage to actually go first and was shocked when half the distance was actually a sheer drop with no mountainside to push off of. Instead of being terrified though, I turned my back to the mountain, faced the forest, and enjoyed the view!

Ghassan on the 15m cliff side

Ghassan on the 15m cliff side

Heading over the 15m ledge

Heading over the 15m ledge

Our friend John enjoying the 30 m drop

Our friend John enjoying the 30 m drop

Rappelling takes no real physical training and requires little fitness, but getting over that mental ledge (pun intended :)) is difficult. I’m so happy we pushed ourselves to learn how to rappel, as it catapulted us out of our comfort zones. If anyone has any recommendations for locations to rappel in the UAE or Oman, please do comment on this post as I’m definitely keen to have another go at it!

Keep growing,
Maya

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